Play dates are always a great way for young ones to let off some steam. But sometimes the weather outside doesn’t cooperate, or one of the kids is tired or doesn’t feel 100%, or you dread having every single toy your child owns scattered all over your house, OR you just want to give your son or daughter’s get-together with friends a different spin.

Enter the movie play date. Here’s what you need to pull it off:

  • One family-friendly movie. You’ll need to decide if it makes more sense to go with something completely new or something tried and true.
  • Two backup selections. Let’s face it: kids are picky. But those little buggers are also indecisive. If your feature presentation is losing them, you’ll need a Plan B and C. Giving them too many options, however, could backfire. (And psst: you know we have family movies and kids movies at, right?)
  • Movie-themed snacks. You’d want snacks available for any play date anyway, so now all you have to do is find ways to work what you already have into a theme.

If the kids decided on a title beforehand, you could make up snack names related to characters or places from the movie — think “Smurfy Sauce” (applesauce pouches) or “Dory’s Fish Food” (cereal or chopped-up granola bars).

Or it could be as simple as setting up a “concession stand” and letting the kids pick from what’s available. But you HAVE to have popcorn for them no matter what, obviously!

  • Tickets. Yep, tickets. Have the kids create “movie tickets” to present to you before the main attraction. Nothing fancy, normal sheet paper and crayons will do.
  • A comfy space. If the room where you’re playing the movie doesn’t have kid-friendly furniture, there’s an easy solution. Two words: got pillows?

Lay a bed sheet on the floor the appropriate distance in front the TV, anchor it down with some of your child’s heaviest books at each corner, and then put every pillow in your house on it. If you have beanbags or sleeping bags to toss into the mix, even better.

The kids will think it’s the coolest thing in the world and will be able to move and squirm around to their hearts’ content during the show.

Bonus: after the movie’s over you can scoop up the sheet from its ends and then dump any dropped snacks or crumbs or spills into the garbage in one fell swoop.

  • Decorations. The reality is the kids are going to be excited and have fun just watching a movie together. But if you want to go above and beyond, you can make or seek out inexpensive decorations like movie-themed popcorn bowls, trays, plastic table runners, napkins, balloons and streamers before the big day. You could even copy real theaters by hanging some movie posters around.

All that’s left to do is press “Play.”

Let us know if you try this out or have done something similar with your kiddies in the past!

By: Redbox Writer, Erika Olson